Catching up on memories...

My hope for the future, rises and falls according to my level of gratitude for what God has done in the past.

Our pastor spoke these words this past Sunday in a powerful message about having a grateful heart.

What if I woke up tomorrow with only the things for which I gave thanks today?

As another year begins and I ponder these words, I want to stop and give thanks for the memories that were created with family over the past several months.

BLOG thanksgivng pics

These were taken over Thanksgiving where, every other year, we spend time removed from the business of life at a retreat center with my sister's family and our parents. It was an added blessing to have my Nana with us.  She is a beautiful reflection of God's love.  

The last time Michael and I made the this trip, we took our referral picture of Lily and worked on finishing paperwork for our adoption. Let's just say Lily in the flesh is so much sweeter!!!

BLOG train storyboard

My brother-in-law planned a train ride with Santa and rented out the entire caboose for us complete with Starbucks hot chocolate that he made! The night before the ride, he showed The Polar Express to Lily on a big screen and she sat mesmerized during the entire movie.

She woke up that morning with a bell and note from Santa. She still talks about the special memories that were made that day.

BLOG storyboard 2

While she didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, she was happy to tell him that she wanted a Tinkerbell cake (which later changed to a Fancy Nancy cake and a Hello Kitty Umbrella).

BLOG santa hats with gaga

Another highlight from our time together was cooking with Gaga making Santa hat brownies! 
 Lily loves to help cook so this was right up her ally. 
 She had a great time stirring, pouring and taste testing along the way.

BLOG kindness advent collage

We started off our Christmas season by making a kindness advent calendar. Lily was eager to help me glue the paper on each envelope that held our random act of kindness for each day in December.

I saw this last year on Pitter Patter Art and loved it so much we decided to make a calendar we can use each year. This has quickly become one of my most favorite things we do together each Christmas.

BLOG decorating cookies collage

We decorated the tree together as a family which always makes my heart full. 
 This was the first year in awhile that we didn't use the glass balls and hung the ornaments that we have collected over the years...such fun reminiscing about the stories that lie behind each one.

Lily and I tried our hand at making and decorating sugar cookies using these recipes I found from Pitter Patter Art
Although ours were not nearly as artistic and beautiful as hers...it was totally worth the effort to see the fun she had decorating each one.


Christmas would not be complete without the beauty of light.  
I am taking another photography class and had fun playing around 
trying to capture some bokeh with our lights.
I especially love the one of Lily playing the piano.

BLOG christmas day collage

While not the greatest (due to grey, rainy weather we had all week) these are a few snapshots from Christmas day. We had a quiet morning with Lily who was super content with her Hello Kitty umbrella. Later that day, Spencer joined us and Lily was eager to bring each gift for him to open.

That night, we celebrated with Michael's family. His mom cooked a yummy meal, we sang happy birthday to Jesus and it is always fun to see the joy light up in the eyes of the kids.

My parents came in town after Christmas...they bought an electric train for Spencer and Lily that came complete with steam, a whistle and a chuffing sound! Needless to say they were in awe.

I am thankful for the shared memories I have of our time together with my parents. 
 It was simple and quiet but certainly filled with much love.

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BLOG christmas collage

The King of Kings, who took off his royal robe, removed his crown, and entered into this world in the fullness of a little child, reigns today and every day of the year.


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Lovely moments captured!

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